Point Guard – 6-0, 180
Chandler Park Academy (Harper Woods, MI)
National Rank: **** - Position Rank: 8
Michigan began courting Walton early in his sophomore season when his game shone brightly during a winter holiday tournament. The Wolverine later picked up their pursuit in earnest in the spring with stops by his school, including a drop in by Beilein. It was at that point that Walton’s reciprocal interest in the Maize & Blue became extremely evident.
“Man, I really like the Wolverines right now,” he told GoBlueWolverine in April of 2011. “The whole tournament run, the Big Ten run, and just developing as a a program. I like the new facilities, the coaching staff, and everything that they’re building.”
By the time AAU season rolled around Walton had become a value target for the Wolverines, but so too had point guards Monte Morris and Demetrius Jackson. Michigan coaches made it a point to follow equally the progress of all three. Walton did his part to command their attention, standing out at multiple tournaments. Morris and Jackson, however, did the same. The trio would eventually do battle at Michigan’s Elite Camp in June 2011. In an interesting turn, all three played well, but Walton left feeling he could do more.
- From GoBlueWolverine’s 2011 Elite Camp Report
- Walton is a coach on the floor and his floor generalship is always present. That certainly was the case Saturday when Walton found his teammates for good looks… especially Steve Haney. On this day, however, he wasn’t quite as successful in finding his own offense. Afterward he lamented a performance that he described as “average” and lacking in “aggression”. He was searching for that proverbial balance between when to defer and when to go for his own… balance that we’ve seen him display on numerous occasions before.
The Michigan coaching staff was much more pleased with the performance, as evidenced by the scholarship they offered days later. Walton’s excitement was palpable, but he was careful to not make a hasty decision.
“We’ve been talking about it for a while now so them offering officially just makes me more interested in committing to Michigan. I was pretty excited about the offer,” he said.
Walton stuck to his plan of not making his decision until August even though friend and rival Monte Morris had also been extended an offer. Despite the risk that Morris might accept first, Walton’s focus shifted squarely to his game. It was at that point that he began turning into a different ball player. His game took a more aggressive form the result was an impressive string of scoring performances where the talented floor general showed he could put a team on his back offensively.
One of his most notable showings came in July 2011 at the Adidas invitational.
- From Andre Barthwell’s Day 1 Report
- “Walton was magnificent today, showing the perfect blend between getting his teammates involved and getting his own offense. He definitely got his own offense, dropping 33 points. He is all around game was on point… with him making his presence felt in the scoring, assist, and rebounding columns… and he also played good defense.”
- From Brian Snow’s Day 2 Report
- “It is safe to say that Walton was unstoppable in his game against Spiece Indy Heat. The savvy point guard finished with 35 points and showed his ability to get to the rim and make shots from deep. The Spiece guards had absolutely no chance to stay in front of Walton, and he put on a show. With many coaches looking on, Walton was a dominant force. When he is aggressive like he was, Walton is very tough to handle.”
Michigan was on hand in July for virtually all of Walton’s performances and he definitely took notice. That said, other interested parties began showing up as well.
“Coach Beilein has been to the last nine games I have played, and Michigan State has seen me as well. Tuesday I am supposed to meet with the Michigan State coaches and have a meeting with them. I think they are going to offer me."
More recruiting attention began flowing Walton’s way – especially from Michigan State – but Michigan wasn’t to be denied. John Beilein & company reiterated at every turn the fact that he had long been a priority for Wolverines. One of Michigan’s commitments got in on the job.
“I talked with Zak Irvin,” Walton recalled. “I was looking at the number and said, 'Let me answer the phone.' Zak and I have known each other for a while at AAU tournaments. As we were talking, he said I called to tell you I committed to Michigan, and he told me he would like for me to come and play with him. That was nice that he called to tell me that and to try and recruit me."
Not long after, on August 1st, 2011 Derrick Walton made commitment to Michigan too.
“I like the opportunity, the coaching staff, and just the style of play,” he said. “It is probably the best fit for me. I’m an unselfish point guard that can score, but would rather pass it. Plus I can defend. I’m just an overall good teammate.”
There was also another huge factor in Walton’s decision to end his recruitment.
“Coach (Bacari) Alexander was probably the biggest reason,” he reported. “I probably talked to him every day the last two weeks. Just from him being from here I can relate to him on a lot of things. Off the court I know I can just trust him.”
From Scout.com’s Brian Snow: “In Walton you have a point guard that I think is going to be a heck of a college basketball player. He is tough, he is more athletic than people think, he’s quick, and he makes good decisions. Add in that he is a really good shooter and he just has a lot of things that coaches look for in a point guard. It was a great summer for Walton – certainly he was someone who raised his stock. I’ve always loved his game, but he took it to a new level. The kid is an absolute winner – someone Michigan fans are going to love.”
“Walton is a point guard who also has the ability to get hot from the perimeter. He scores the ball well, but most notable is his court vision and the fact that he makes others better. A true PG, Walton is one of the best floor generals in the class. He isn't big, and needs to get better on defense, but he has the tools to be a big time play maker at the college level.”
To view a signing day video interview with Walton, press play below.